HAGGAI 1:9: “You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Have you ever felt like your life was going no where? You work hard, you try to get ahead, and for every three steps you take forward – it seems like you take four back. This was the state the remnant of Israel that had returned to Jerusalem found themselves in. They returned with great hopes and expectation. They instead were living from hand to mouth, and in great discouragement.
I have been in this place in my life. When you are walking through a dessert valley it seems like God has forgotten you. Why does He allow us to go through these kind of experiences? Why was He allowing the remnant of Israel to struggle in Jerusalem? He was trying to get their attention and redirect their paths. They had forgotten their priorities and had begun simply living for themselves. They were all very busy with their own lives – but they were neglecting the house of the Lord. This was the reason they had been allowed to return to Jerusalem. This was their mission – to rebuild the Temple of God. And yet, they had settled in, becoming content and complacent, building only their own houses. Without this time of struggle they would no doubt have continued adrift from the purposes of God.
The Lord loves us too much to allow this to happen. He will begin to close doors in our lives to get our attention. He is more interested in our eternal development than our temporal comfort. It is so easy to get caught up in the business of this life that we neglect the important matters – building up His house. For the believer, this is not a temple made of wood and stone. It is building up the Body of Christ. This includes our own personal and spiritual development in Jesus Christ, and our ministry to others in His name. Galatians 6:1 tells us to “bear one another’s burdens” – and by doing so, fulfill the law of Christ. We were not created to simply work and accumulate things in this life. We were created to give, love, and serve others.
When we forget this purpose, the Lord may allow us to hit some lean times in order to awaken us from our misdirection, and restore us to His calling for our lives. There is nothing in this life that we will take with us into heaven. The only thing that is eternal are the things that we establish in our hearts – and in the hearts of others. If all of our life is spent tending to our “own houses” – what will become of the “house of the Lord”? Jesus calls us to invest in that which is not corrupted by moths or rust. The only internal investment is the heart (temple) of our lives, and the lives of others. Each one of us is called to do our part in building His house.
- “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV)
- “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV)
Lord, forgive me for the times when my priorities shift from building Your house (living stones), to focusing on my house (temporal comforts). Give me the grace to right my priorities to investing in those things that are eternal. Today, help me focus on building up my heart and life in Jesus Christ, and helping others to do the same!
In Jesus Name!